The Day I thought I lost my Gun ...

The sards had been running thick and there had been plenty of gamefish action around Durban and the South coast. I had seen geelbek on just about every dive on Treasure Beach reef. Brett Dickson and I thus decided to amble down for a late afternoon dive.

Visibility wasn’t excellent and there were plenty of pockets of sards around. We both managed to land a geelbek out of a shoal. Sitting on the pinnacle I noticed a cuda in the gloom, I gave chase but could only get close enough for a long shot. To my surprise my line straightened and I was in! A second shot secured the fish which would have weighed about 15 kg. I was just thinking to myself how fortunate I’d been, seeing my first shot holding by just skin near the anal fin. Its funny how luck can change!

I’d been feeling a bit queasy the entire dive, and decided that if I relieved myself I might feel more comfortable in the water. Not thinking, I unhitched my weight belt and attached it to my buoy. I made sure my diving buddy wasn’t in the immediate vicinity and proceeded to strip my wetsuit off. By the time I had the best part of my suit off I turned around to see where my buoy was. To my horror it was nowhere to be seen – the weight belt had taken it with it!

I screamed for Brett and tried to explain that my buoy was lying on the bottom and he must dive quickly before we drifted off the spot! Unfortunately he did not quite understand and proceeded to ask why I was half naked. It took a lot of explaining by which time we were well and truly off the spot. Treasure reef is small and I was confident that I would relocate it. Unfortunately I was positively buoyant, and Brett had no idea where I’d been. To my dismay we had to call off the search when it got dark!

The same evening I tried to persuade every diver I knew to join me for a dive at Treasure – of course the fish were running thick and the morning dive was going to cook. I had little doubt with all the sard and shark action around that my fish and probably my gun would be history! At first light I decided to walk from Brighton to Treasure Beach to see if the buoy had refloated and drifted in. No such luck! After swimming out to my small team of searchers, they confirmed to my dismay that my gun was nowhere to be seen on the reef. Besides they were clubbing the geelbek, so why worry about looking for a gun?

I had to continue the search on my own, with the odd snoek making an appearance to see what I was doing. Treasure reef is an odd shape and has a number of scattered extensions. It was along one of these that I found my gun. I was thrilled to have it back and even more thrilled to find my fish intact! As so often happens when you get fish I was bombarded with questions from onlookers such as how and when I got them. I got some strange looks when I explained that I had shot them the previous evening.

The fish had gone fairly mushy, but Jessie our maid and Jeffrey our gardener confirmed that they were delicious. Needless to say that I had learnt a lesson or two! Amazing that the fish had survived a night, with so many sharks around!

By Nick McClurg